Fi­nally, I’m Proud of Amer­i­can Soc­cer

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By J. Watt

Soc­cer isn’t ex­actly our sport in the United States, so its a rare oc­ca­sion for me to be a proud US Soc­cer fan. Yet the re­cent pros­e­cu­tion of FIFA cor­rup­tion by US At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch is one po­lit­i­cal move that I am ex­cited to stand be­hind as an Amer­i­can.

Cor­rup­tion ex­ists all over the world. The 10-year-old boy who mows my lawn and charges me twice as much as the neigh­bors be­cause he as­sumes I don’t know any bet­ter had to have learned this be­hav­ior some­where.

While most Amer­i­can kids can’t name a sin­gle pro­fes- sional soc­cer player, most of the world’s youth have their fa­vorite play­ers, teams, and leagues. The ex­cite­ment rises to an unimag­in­able level dur­ing the World Cup, which is ar­guably the world’s para­mount sport­ing event. Though the US squad has been steadily im­prov­ing—even mak­ing a nice lit­tle run last sum­mer— we cer­tainly haven't con­trib­uted the best play­ers or cham­pi­onships to the great sport; yet I stand proud that the con­tri­bu­tion we'll be re­mem­bered by is that of try­ing to clean the game of cor­rup­tion in sight of the world’s youth.

On­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions con- tinue to re­veal the breadth of the FIFA scan­dal and time will tell how far reach­ing the cor­rup­tion has been. Yet one thing is clear: money has in­deed changed hands in ex­change for votes and fa­vor­able de­ci­sions on where to hold the tour­na­ment, which is his­tor­i­cally a huge eco­nomic boost for the host­ing coun­try. While some world lead­ers have pushed back on the United States’ in­quiry into these crimes be­cause they may be a nor­mal oc­cur­rence in their coun­try, I stand proud that even though soc­cer isn’t “Amer­ica’s na­tional pas­time,” we won’t tol­er­ate malfea­sance and bribery. In the words of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey: "If you touch our shores with your cor­rupt en­ter­prise, you will be held ac­count­able."

We may not have the win­ning team or the best lo­ca­tion to hold the tour­na­ment these next few rounds. But that’s okay, be­cause right now the US of­fi­cials are prov­ing that we want to earn those rather than buy them. May this be a les­son for the boy who mows my lawn, and all of the world’s youth, that while trick­ery may bring tem­po­rary suc­cess, moral in­tegrity is the last­ing, ful­fill­ing path

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